The Last DC4 Skymaster Ever Built
"LEBOMBO" ZS - BMH
|Completed on August 4, 1947 for South African Airways,
this plane is still flying today, one of only two DC4 Skymasters still
licensed to carry passengers. Douglas Construction number 43157, this plane
was hand assembled in Santa Monica, and was reputedly the last one built.
Flying for the joint SAA/BOAC Johannesburg to London route in the late 1940's and early 1950's, this plane is very much an extension of the DC3 concept, but obviously with 4 engines and bigger it is more reliable. According to Brendon Odell, the flight engineer (he calls himself "the mechanic") the plane has had a colorful history, including having both wings severed in a ground collision in the 1950's, as well has a mid air collision on 30 October 1962, when the tail was largely removed. She also burst a nose wheel in East London. Retired from SAA service in 1966, she began her career with the SAAF (South African Air Force), and was attacked by "terrorists", having seen action during the Angola war in the mid 1970's, where the South African government sought to prevent a communist regime from coming to power there. She was also leased to a number of airlines at this time.
Some of these photo's were taken by Larry Levy, on holiday in Cape Town, on Friday, March 1st, 2002, on a "flip" tourist flight that took us from Cape Town Airport round Cape Point (the tip of Africa), and via Robin Island before returning to Cape Town International at around US$ 30 each (SAR395). Her sister plane, ZA-AUB is the only other DC4 today certified to fly passengers.
Long Live Lebombo ! Lebombo's sister plane, a "Classic" 747-200 has now been retired from service and sits as a museum piece at Rand Airport in Germiston. A photo below show's the two planes side by side, the larger Lebombo in her classic SAA livery from the 1990's. While the DC-4 Lebombo was the last DC-4 passenger plane built, the 747-200 Lebombo is was the first 747 to enter SAA service and the only classic SAA 747 to survive being "chopped up."
The Lebombo Mountains are long, narrow mountain range in South Africa, Swaziland, and Mozambique, about 800 km (500 miles) long and consisting of volcanic rocks. The mountains' name is derived from a Zulu word, Ubombo, that means “big nose.” The mountains extend from south of the Mkuze River (KwaZulu/Natal province) north into Kruger National Park (Northern province) of The Republic of South Africa.
Newer SAA aircraft ... in the colours of The Rainbow Nation taxing for takeoff the same day from Cape Town International Airport.
and there she goes ... Does time exist or is it we that move along
Below, Capain with his P&W cap !
The "flip" was to take us round Cape Point and thence around Table Mountain and Robin Island (see photos below).
Above: Robbin Island with Cape Town &
Table Mountain in Background:
Robbin Island was the location of incarceration for Nelson Mandela & his colleagues for over 20 years.
Not another beautiful day in Africa:
Below Cape Point
Except for the seats the interior is pretty authentic (the seats are ex A300 business class seats!)
Long Live SA Historic Flight
- Long Live Lebombo - Peace - Happiness